Take off your shoes

The unacknowledged slaughterers of the world

Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader and war-crimes suspect, has been on the lam for almost a decade now, and though he’s been doggedly sought after by various world governments, no-one can find him. No-one, that is, except for his poetry publisher — who just released Karadzic’s latest book of verse, Under the Left Breast of the Century.

Apparently, some of the poems’ titles include “Plant A Rose”, “Dangerous Dream” and “Black Fairytale”; one chapter is entitled “I Can Look For Myself”. According to the Associated Press, a few bits of verse appear to suggest clues to where he’s hiding:

Some of the latest verses, like those from the poem Midday, may indicate where Karadzic is hiding, such as one section where he discusses “the mountain, on the road to wilderness,” and describes an encounter with a “tall and lean wolf.”

Heh. Yeah, well, that’ll narrow things down a lot, thanks. Karadzic’s publisher claims not to know where he’s hiding, and “I wouldn’t say even if I knew.” I suppose some might find it strange that Karadzic — a bloodthirsty horror if ever there were one — would be so attracted to poetry, but of course, fascist nutjobs have long been appealed to by non-narrative arts like poetry or, in the case of Hitler, architecture. It think it’s because these lyrical/abstract forms allow for a sort of ahistorical and egocentric viewpoint. Writing a novel or a play require one to step outside oneself — and embody someone else’s perspective — in a way that lyric poetry doesn’t. This is not to dis lyric poetry; I actually probably read far more of the stuff than I read of novels. But the fact remains that it’s an artform that seems to be particularly patronized by totalitarian freaks and fans of ethic-cleansing.

(Thanks to Bookninja for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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